Indian Navy veterans jailed in Qatar releasedFebruary 12, 2024 08:09
In a major diplomatic triumph for India, eight veterans of the Indian Navy who were sentenced to death in Qatar, were released by Doha on Monday.
The capital punishment was commuted to an extended prison term earlier following diplomatic intervention by New Delhi.
Amid desperate pleas by the anxious kin of the Navy veterans to secure their release and safe passage back to their homeland, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had assured that it would mobilise all diplomatic channels and arrange legal assistance to bring them back.
Of the eight former Navy officers, seven have already returned to India, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) informed through an official statement on Monday.
The Union government released an official statement welcoming the decision to set the veteran officers free, saying, 'The Government of India welcomes the release of eight Indian nationals working for the Dahra Global company who were detained in Qatar. Seven out of the eight of them have returned to India. We appreciate the decision by the Amir of the State of Qatar to enable the release and home-coming of these nationals.'
The eight Indian nationals were imprisoned in Qatar since October 2022 and were accused of allegedly spying on a submarine programme.
The retired naval personnel were sentenced to death by a Qatar court on charges that have not yet been made public officially.Earlier, the Qatari Court commuted the death penalty sentence of eight ex-Indian naval officers it had arrested last year in the Dahra Global case, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a press statement.
The sentence has now been reduced to jail terms.
Describing the judgement, the Ministry of External Affairs had said, 'We have noted the verdict today of the Court of Appeal of Qatar in the Dahra Global case, in which the sentences have been reduced.'
The MEA also said that the detailed judgement in the case is awaited and are in close touch with the legal team in Qatar.
MEA added, 'The detailed judgement is awaited. We are in close touch with the legal team as well as the family members to decide on the next steps. Our Ambassador to Qatar and other officials were present in the Court of Appeal today, along with the family members. We have stood by them since the beginning of the matter and we will continue to extend all consular and legal assistance. We will also continue to take up the matter with the Qatari authorities.' -- ANI